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Sign of the End

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When the subject of the return of Jesus is raised, the question of what “sign” or “signs” will precede it is asked. Invariably, wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, and similar catastrophes are proposed as harbingers of the End. However, Jesus himself gave us the definitive answer to this question, namely, the completion of the mission of the Church to proclaim his salvation and lordship to all nations.

The Age of Salvation

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After his resurrection, Jesus declared: “ All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me, therefore, go and make disciples of all nations! ” He then dispatched his disciples to announce his Lordship and salvation to the “ uttermost parts of the Earth .” The Era of Salvation commenced with his death and resurrection; therefore, his life-giving message must be announced to all men. The Son of God has achieved salvation for his people!

Priestly Slaves

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The man who decides to follow Jesus joins his “ Kingdom of Priests ,” and as one of his priestly representatives, the new disciple rules with him, both now and in the future. This understanding raises the question: How, exactly, does a believer participate in the sovereignty of his Lord and exercise his authority? Fortunately, Jesus and Paul have provided us with straightforward answers.

The Testimony of Jesus

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The Book of Revelation applies several terms to the Church that is under assault from within and without. The men who have been redeemed by Jesus form a new priestly company that transcends all national, social, and cultural boundaries, and “ tribulation ” and persecution are not aberrations to be avoided at all costs, but integral parts of what it means to belong to the Kingdom of God. Persevering in the “ Testimony of Jesus ” through affliction goes to the heart of what it means to follow the “ Lamb wherever he goes .”

Martyrs and Overcomers

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Two repeated themes in Revelation are closely related - “ Witness ” and “ Overcome .” Beginning with Jesus of Nazareth and his martyrdom on Calvary, his followers are summoned to persevere in his “ Testimony .” In this way, they will “ overcome ” and emerge victorious in the city of “ New Jerusalem .” They must “ overcome, even as I overcame .” Moreover, Jesus is presented to the “ Seven Assemblies of Asia ” as the “ FAITHFUL WITNESS, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth .”